‘Declare Rutanhire national hero’
Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central Province has written to the Politburo recommending conferment of national hero status on Cde George Rutanhire who died on Saturday morning. Cde Rutanhire was a Politburo member and headed the Chitepo Ideological College, an institution training Zanu-PF members on party’s ideology. He succumbed to renal failure at Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin.
Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Advocate Martin Dinha yesterday said the province had unanimously agreed that Cde George Rutanhire be declared a national hero.
“The papers have been submitted to Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo for onward submission to the party leadership and the Politburo,” he said.
“We wait for the pronouncement but our decision as a province was unanimous. War veterans, Central Committee members and the political leadership all agreed that Cde Rutanhire deserves national hero status.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Mashonaland Central province also wrote to Cde Chombo recommending that Cde Rutanhire be declared a national hero.
“It is with deep sorrow that we formally notify you of the death of one of our illustrious commander and member of the General Staff Cde George Rutanhire who passed on at Karanda Hospital yesterday (Saturday) on 19 August 2017,” reads the association’s letter to Cde Chombo.
“We do not hesitate to recommend the late commander to be declared a National Hero owing to his invaluable contribution to Zimbabwe’s liberation and development before and after independence.”
The letter was accompanied by a summary of Cde Rutanhire’s biography.
Cde Rutanhire was born Jackson Peter Musanhu in Chesa, Mt Darwin. He joined the liberation struggle in 1972 from the then Chesa African Purchase Area in Mt Darwin District after encountering ZANLA freedom fighters at St Albert’s Mission where he was a catechist.
He left his catechist assignment to join the liberation struggle after being sold out by Rhodesian agents.
Cde Rutanhire went to Mapai Base in Mozambique before proceeding to Zambia.
He went for military training in Tanzania, becoming one of the foremost prosecutors of the armed struggle.
He was later involved in the training and moulding of many ZANLA cadres at Mgagao Training Camp.
A member of the Zanla General Staff, he was among the signatories of the famous Mgagao Declaration, which ushered in President Mugabe to the leadership of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Commander-in-Chief of its military wing, ZANLA.
After Independence, Cde Rutanhire held several posts in Government and Zanu-PF, and was elevated to the Politburo in 2010, a position he held until the time of his death.
He also led the National Youth Service and played a key role in developing politically conscious and patriotic youths some whom are leaders today in various capacities.
He was chairperson of the Fallen Heroes Trust of Zimbabwe, which — among other things — has been at the forefront of identifying mass graves of people butchered by the colonial regime prior to Independence. Mourners are gathered at Tizora Farm, Centenary.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.